By Malik Najmussaqib
KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has approved Rs286 million, apart from de-freezing Rs132 million of agriculture department to start pesticide spray operation against locusts which has already damaged crops standing over 166,701 acres.
He took this decision yesterday while presiding over a meeting here at CM House. Through video link, the meeting was attended by Minister Agriculture Ismail Rahu, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi, Secretary Agriculture Raheem Soomro, senior officers of Plant Protection Department of the federal government and the officers of agriculture extension. Rahu briefing the chief minister said that locust swarms had been reported in Jacoabad on April 25, 2017.
He added that the other affected districts were Shikarpur, Larkana, Kashmore, Ghotki, Sukkur, Khairpur, Matiari, Dadu, Gadap and Malir of Karachi, Jamshoro and Hyderabad. It was pointed out that nymphol population/hooper bands were present in desert areas of Tharparkar, Umerkot, Sanghar, Shaheed Benaziarabad, Khairpur, Sukkur and Ghotki. At this, the chief minister said that the locusts could move to cropping areas which was a standing threat, therefore, he directed agriculture department to continue control operation.
The Plant Protection Department of the federal government’s representatives told the chief minister that they had assisted the Sindh government in control operation in Ghotki, Kashmore and Khairpur where they sprayed over 17,372 acres.
The minister agriculture said that the Agriculture Extension teams had also conducted spray in all districts and covered the area of 24,867 acres.
The overall 41500 acres in all 18 districts have been covered through spray. The chief minister was told that survey and control operation in cropping areas had been carried out by the agriculture department which had procured vehicles mounted with 45 sprayers. The minister once again requested the chief minister to talk to the federal government for provision of six aircraft, ULV sprayers, pesticides, including ULV, Lamba Cyhalothrine Emulsified Concentrate (EC) in sufficient quantity and deploy their field teams.